As you may or may not know by now, at Surcee Press our job is to make books. Even though we love doing our job, we are mere mortals, and the holidays make us want to go ham like everyone else. Sure, we were once merrily toiling away like Santa's elves, making stationery from scratch, letterpressing festive greeting cards, screenprinting posters, and binding books by hand. But by now the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack has played one too many times and our bank accounts are looking grim, even though there are still too few presents under the tree (which, come to think of it, is a little crispier than it should be in mid-December).
It's officially that time of year when, frankly, the only thing we feel like making around here is a drink. Eggnog is the perfect solution, not only because it tastes like Grandma's homemade melt-y milkshake with a kick, but because it fools everyone else into thinking we are still under Santa's magical spell. Whipping it up from scratch is fun, a tried-and-true antidote to buying cartons of the overly sweet factory-made versions at local grocery stores. So, in a last-ditch effort to spread some joy, we thought we'd share the recipe we received from a pal who also happens to be the brains behind Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. and the creator of that artisanal tonic syrup everyone is going ape for, Brooks Reitz.
Since we've made four whole batches of Nonnie's Nog already this season (three for the King Street Christmas parade alone!), allow us to offer a few tips before you begin. First, do not fool yourself into thinking you're going to be able to whisk for an hour — find an electric mixer you can count on. You will also need to procure at least one extra-large bowl. Second, 'nog is but the sum of its parts, so don't hesitate to splurge on local/free-range/organic eggs, milk, and cream. You should also get some real nutmeg to grate over the top of each glass instead of using the powdery stuff that's been on your spice rack since '03. Third and finally, don't break Nonnie's rules about adding the whiskey/rum super slowly so that the egg yolks "cook" or go nuts trying to make more than one batch at a time. Nonnie knows what's up and probably wouldn't appreciate anybody trifling with a sure thing.
• 7 eggs
• 1 ½ cups Wild Turkey, or a spiced rum like
Sailor Jerry's if you want to do it Surcee Press-style • 2 cups whole milk • 7 Tbs. sugar • 1 pint heavy cream • nutmeg
1. Separate the eggs, putting yolks in the mixing bowl and setting aside whites for later. Beat the yolks on medium-high until they are lemon-colored. Add the whiskey/rum one teaspoon at a time. Then add milk. (You may have to reduce your mixing speed lest you be splashing all over the kitchen.) Set mixture aside.
2. In another bowl, beat egg whites on high until stiff. Gradually add sugar as you continue beating. Add meringue to the first mixture, combine, and set aside.
3. Beat cream on medium-high until stiff. Add whipped cream to mixture and fold in with a spatula, then whisk vigorously. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, up to two days. Mixture will separate.
4. Just before serving, reincorporate mixture with a spatula, then whisk vigorously (again) to ensure a rich and velvety texture unlike any other. Divide into glasses and generously grate nutmeg over each one. Serves eight.
For best results, fill a punch bowl with two separate batches. Serve cold, in cute, small glasses or even mason jars. Toast to this holiday season, and with each sip, remember that office parties can be fun, an actual vacation will commence in mere days, and your finances will soon be bolstered by several small cash donations encased in tacky greeting cards from distant relatives. Also, drink responsibly, because this stuff is rich and nobody needs a belly full of boozy dairy products. Trust us!
This recipe can be found alongside myriad other local cocktail recipes in Surcee Press' second publication entitled Charleston Drinks and How to Make 'Em, to be released early 2012. Look for it on surceepress.com, as well as at Heirloom Book Co. and Hope and Union.